nVidia slowing down...

Discussion in 'General 3D Technology' started by Joe DeFuria, Dec 17, 2002.

  1. Fuz

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    Think of it like a Formula 1 race. Nvidia has just missed a gear, and ATI have moved up in the inside lane preparing for next the corner. If ATI can stick to the correct racing line, they should come out in front of Nvidia. Of course, after that there is the next corner to deal with, with Nvidia right on the tale, ATI can't afford to slip up or else its Nvidia back out in front.
     
  2. sumdumyunguy

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    I, respectufully disagree. Doom III (or any other PC-centric game) is not going to make any difference. Yes, people who frequent this board & fan sites such as nvnews & rage3d buy a disproportionate amount of hardware.

    I have 5 working pc's & parts for 3 others. My father just got his first pc ever, a Dell, just this past Thursday. That being said, we are not the target audience. We, the hardware enthusiasts, just don't have the numbers. Over at rage3d there is a thread where somebody is lamenting the fact that the "Sims" is still #1 in pc game sells. Doom III, QuakeIV (is there such a thing?) et al., are not & were not intended to be "mass market" sellers. We are members of a niche market (that quite franky, is getting smaller every day percentage-wise) & although we may heavily influence the direction, financially we don't amount to a hill of beans. Even magic ones :)
     
  3. Crusher

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    yes
     
  4. Nite_Hawk

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    Heh, it's just people who still have sour apples because nvidia took out 3dfx. :)

    IMHO, I don't think nvidia is really in any major trouble, but I think this last year is going to hurt them in more ways than just the temporary loss of sales. A lot of people thought that they were pretty much invincible, and this last year shows that it's not true. If Nvidia can get the NV31 out soon after the NV30, they should still do ok. Still, every day the 9700 (9900?) is the leader and the 9500s go unchallenged, nvidias going to not only be loosing sales, but reputation as well. I think this is were they will really be hurt.

    Nite_Hawk
     
  5. Simon F

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  6. Entropy

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    My point was - why does anyone upgrade at all?
    Excluding kids growing up, most people who are at all interested (and quite a few who are not) in the western world already have computers.

    Up until now, the major driving force for upgrades has been performance enhancements - applications have evolved in such a way that they require more and more hardware resources. However, for the last few years, the bread and butter applications that people use computers for have been well catered to. Those that own such systems and only use such applications have no reason at all to upgrade for performance reasons.

    There is a clear trend in the marketplace away from desktop computers to laptops. (And in parallell, from CRTs to LCD screens). Thus, a lot of those that upgrade actually choose to pay for better size/noise/looks/desk use characteristics, at the expense of performance, expandability and cost. This is logical, since the only wide-spread applications that requires ever increasing levels of performance is games. And most computers aren't used for game play. We are still seeing administrative hardware sales driven by general PC replacement programmes, but a couple of friends who do this for a living both say that they are looking at getting service contracts for five rather than three years, almost halving the rate at which systems are routinely replaced at their sites.

    But since games and gameperformance gets such a huge covering both in on-line and paper reviews, this helps create the impression to the average consumer that performance is still an important parameter. Even if he/she doesn't play games at all. And these buyers are a significant part of the market. Still. Also, it was interesting to hear ATI say that they made a large part of the market value is in the high end, and the margins there can be better too.

    For a moment hope flickered, but the grizzled veteran knew that mercy would only prolong the suffering, and unsheathed his dagger....

    Entropy
     
  7. GetStuff

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    I think a more accurate statement would be. "The industry is slowing down."
     
  8. antlers

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    I think the days of high-end PC gaming are already past...

    Pretty much no big-budget game is being developed for the PC that isn't also being targeted at at least one of the consoles, with the consoles' capabilities determining the PC version's feature set.

    The PC games that continue to exist will be mass-market titles that don't require a high-end PC, tech-demo type titles from new developers trying to make a name for themselves, and some other niche games from small developers.
     
  9. Crusher

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    Entropy, your opinions sound like they assume that everyone who has a computer has a computer that is "good enough" for what they are doing. Ironically, I think many of your comments only apply to the very same people you claim to be the exception--the hardcore gamer. Performance is still a motivation for regular users to upgrade. Most of the people I know who don't play games have pretty crappy PC's, and while they work, they are very slow at doing the meager tasks these users wish them to perform. While refraining from upgrading the OS has extended their lifespan, eventually the day will come when the things they want to do will simply not be possible on their system. In the not too distant future, driver development for the Windows9x systems will cease, an application development and support will follow not long after. How many people do you think use e-machines that will choke the minute Windows XP is put on them? And don't forget the program everyone loves to hate... AOL. Bloat upon bloat upon bloat. Each version will get a little slower on people's computers, until they finally have to upgrade just to be able to run it.

    As for the people who want smaller/sleeker/cuter computers, they're just as much of a nitche group as the hardcore gamer. They've also been around for years.. they're called "Mac users". There are always going to be some people who would rather look good than perform good. These types of people drive VW Beetles, wear $200 shoes that would ruin their feet if they had to actually walk anywhere in them, and drink $5 cups of coffee from Starbucks. Now, I might not live in L.A. or NYC, but this isn't exactly a backwoods town. While we have a fair share of the VW/Starbucks crowd, I can safely say the number of pickup trucks and performance cars I see greatly outnumbers the number of VW Beetles, and there are still a lot more cups of coffee being sold at McDonalds than there are at Starbucks.
     
  10. TheMightyPuck

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  11. BoddoZerg

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    Actually, I have no doubt that MS will continue making ever more bloated OS's until a 10 GHz computer is unable to run Windows 2010 at any decent speed. They're probably demanding ransom from Intel and AMD; as long as the CPU makers pay up, MS puts clock cycle-eating viruses into core Windows code, forcing users to upgrade.

    Who says monopoly isn't a good thing for technology?
     
  12. KnightBreed

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    The driving force behind technical innovation (3D graphics, CPUs, whatever) is competition - not software or gaming or web surfing.

    Companies need to give you a reason to buy their product over their competitors. As long as there is competition, there will be innovation.
     
  13. Tahir2

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    But then you innovate just for the sake of competing. Didn't AMD recently state that this was not the way forward. That they needed to take a step back and stop releasing products no one wanted/needed, but start to create technology that will be a requirement to our (consumer) ever increasing wants for more and more control?
     
  14. Entropy

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    You neglect the growth of laptops and desknotes.
    Pick up the latest Dell catalog. Compare relative space given to systems. It's not a small niche anymore.

    Also, it's a hope for future growth. People that don't really need to upgrade that 700 MHz Celeron, might do it anyway just to get rid of the big hulking CRT that has hogged their desk for years. Making computers that fit better into peoples lifes can provide market opportunities when "making your internet go faster" no longer does the trick. But I digress.

    3D-graphics is a factor that can drive the market. It's entertainment and it has a wow!-factor. It can help shift 'em boxes. Focussing on performance has been good for business that way - you know you can keep moving it forward and therefore ensure the sales argument. But if people just don't notice much difference anymore in actual use, if no compelling new opportunities open up for them - well, there are always other holes you can put a thousand bucks into. 3D-graphics makes a difference you can see.

    So saying that games do not drive the market sounds very very suspect to me.

    Entropy
     
  15. SA

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    As the traditional die shrink that most VLSI companies have relied upon comes to a gradual halt over the next decade or so, the companies that look to other mechanisms for a competitive advantage will be the long term survivors.

    Improving capabilities through die shrinks has been so compelling historically that the alternatives have received little attention to date. This will not be the case going forward. Larger die area, cheaper silicon processes, MCMs, stacked dies, multiple chips, etc. will all get a lot more attention in the coming years by those companies that remain successful.
     
  16. Reverend

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    If I have no budget constraints, I'd definitely upgrade if my favourite game(s) demanded it. Being a reviewer and having had experience with the latest video cards, I'd have to say, for example, that I'd definitely upgrade from a GF4Ti4600 to a Radeon 9700Pro simply for the better performance at AA and AF (heck, the R9700's 6xAA+16xAF is almost-universally faster than the GF4Ti4600's max setting of 4xS+8xAF !). It will all depend on how much you like any one particular game and how much of a performance boost plus additional features (higher AA and AF) a newer video card gives you than your current video card. If the seemingly current trend of games being more and more CPU-dependent than video card-dependent and coupled with the fact that you're not going to see games utilizing features that are only available on one type of video card is a concern then you're better off with a faster CPU.

    Until most "anti-NVIDIA" folks get to experience an NVIDIA card, they will remain "anti-NVIDIA". Personally, I wasn't too fond of NVIDIA's marketing tactics during the old "NVIDIA-vs-3dfx" days, and having only had experience with 3dfx cards I naturally haven't had much good things to say about NVIDIA. That changed once I got to play with NVIDIA cards - not only did the GeForce1 had a better balance of features and performance compared to the Voodoo5, I also realized that I wasn't concerned about the companies (=whatever marketing tactics they use) behind video cards but rather the product/video cards themselves. I suspect some folks are more concerned about the company than the product... it usually results in "livelier" discussions :).
     
  17. Nagorak

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    I don't really understand people who are anti-Nvidia, but from your comments you seem to be making it out like Nvidia is somehow a superior graphics card company. Contrary to what you might believe, many people HAVE owned Nvidia cards and have not found them to be the end all and be all of graphics. Back in the day (years ago) I briefly owned a GF2 MX and it sucked. Granted it could have just been a cheap card, but there was really no comparison in quality between it and ATi's Radeon cards. I ended up owning a Radeon and then a Radeon 8500 because the price was far better than what an Nvidia GF2/GF3 cost, and contrary to what you might choose to believe ATi cards are not inferior in any way to Nvidia cards.

    I'm not saying ATi cards are better or that Nvidia cards are bad, I'm just refuting what you seem to be saying about everyone seeing the light. I've owned Nvidia before and I've seen enough to know that they are on par with ATi's solutions (which also stands to reason). It's not like you install an Nvidia card and suddenly see the light (that being that they are better than everything else, because they aren't)...
     
  18. Reverend

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    Er, that's definitely not what I said. I believe I said (more or less) that I don't care which company is "superior", only which product (from whichever company) is superior.

    I did not say that ATI cards are inferior to NVIDIA's. I did say that I thought NVIDIA's GeForce1 was better balanced than a Voodoo5.

    I don't think I said that my experience resulted in an NVIDIA card being the "ultimate/end-all-be-all" or that it was an experience akin to seeing Jesus Christ. All I gave was my opinion of one of the reasons why I think the "anti-NVIDIA" sentiment exists, not only here but in other forums/sites.

    The only "light" everyone should see is that spending $100 to $500 on a video card does not mean you have to choose sides.
     
  19. Entropy

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    If nVidia are slowing down their pace, and their CEO can actually go out and say that they are, it stands to reason that they don't think this will make them less competitive going forward. So it would seem reasonable to assume that they have reasons to think that their competitors will do the same, or at least not achieve better profitability if they follow a different path.

    Did the CEO actually mean that the rate of performance improvement will decrease, or did he mean that the pace of introduction of new architectures (new features, basically) will slow down? The two are not necessarily strongly connected. From the report, my belief is that he was referring to the second alternative, i.e. that the rate of introduction of new architectures will slow down, which I can't see would affect the computer industry generally. It might have some effect on the game industry, but should not harm profitability.

    Could a competitor take marketshare from nVidia by introducing 3D-features that nVidia do not offer? It would seem difficult.

    Entropy
     
  20. Himself

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    I think any company that says they are choosing to slow down their pace means that they have no choice but to slow down their pace. It's spin to reflect reality. There is only so far you can play the shift the old product down to the masses trick, you have to have a compelling performance product to replace it. Customers have to lust after the high end while their current cards are not fast enough, if you have a card doing FSAA and anisotropic at insane clock rates, upgrading to the latest product becomes questionable. There is only so much more FSAA and anisotropic you can throw at current game content, and video card performance as some kind of sport with fans cheering each side falls to the wayside as the bottom line arrives at the party.

    With the basic PC in it's entirety being a bottleneck for video cards with today's game content, faster and faster video cards are pointless. I half expect video card makers to start producting games just to get their hardware to sell. Maybe game makers will have most of their revenue coming from video card makers in the future, who knows. :)

    The reality out there is that applications for video cards on the desktop consist 99% of games, and games have not lept forward in terms of technology features. NVIDIA/ATI can hype the promised land of a movie like experience in gaming, but they are not the ones having to pay for the production of that content. Movie makers generally have a world wide audience, experience little piracy (notwithstanding divx which is really more about rentals), and repeated viewings are a bonus. You can't expect game developers to compete with that with the same content in interactive form, the return on investment just isn't there.

    What has to happen first is that cards with the api compatibility have to show up on the low end and the performance has to show up on the low end as well. Having DX9 compatibility is half the battle, being able to do anything with it is another. The volume market of basically a console in a AGP slot has to be created. The NV30s/9700s are basically brand new consoles for the PC, the current consoles as represented by the mass of DX7 class cards are the equivalent of the Nintendo64, until there is a critical mass for new consoles or unless there is money spent to make things happen, games are going to be produced for what's there, not what will be there tomorrow. Once you have that, then you will see a tiny bit of extra eye candy basically laid on top of what we have now, it's all a very gradual process of feature creep, only geeks will really be able to appreciate the techniques used.
     
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